New Delhi: A day after the Centre expended the nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus in the country, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Wednesday said that there are around 400 districts of the country where the coronavirus has not entered. He said the government has been able to pin-point where the virus is. Also Read - COVID-19: Govt Identifies 170 Hotspot Districts, 207 Non-hotspot Districts; No Community Transmission Yet
The Ministry of Health also updated that the total number of coronavirus positive cases has gone up to 11,933 with 392 deaths including 10197 active cases, 1344 cured/discharged/migrated. Also Read - Govt Must Take Precautionary Steps to Avoid Repeat of Bandra Gathering, Says Pawar
“The next 2-3 weeks are going to be the most crucial in handling the COVID-19 pandemic particularly in India,” Vardhan said. Also Read - Coronavirus in Delhi: Govt Increases Containment Zones to 55, Total Cases at 1561 | Top Points
Addressing a press conference, Vardhan said that India is among the first countries in the world to have responded to the news of first coronavirus case being diagnosed in China on January 7. “We started working on January 8 in our expert group meeting. On January 17, we issued health advisories,” he added.
Vardhan said that Bihar isn’t in so much trouble right now, but definitely, Maharashtra is in a bit of trouble, particularly Mumbai and also Karnataka. “But I was happy to see confidence of 3 secretaries and more particularly when Maharashtra Secretary said with confidence ‘we’ll take care of it’,” he said.
Earlier in the day, the Health Ministry officials said that the government has identified 170 districts as COVID-19 hotspots and 207 districts as potential hotspots, reiterating that there has been no community transmission of the disease in the country so far.
Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Health Lav Agarwal said that states have been asked to classify districts which have reported a higher number of cases as hotspots, the districts where cases have been reported as non-hotspots, and green zones where no cases have been reported.
“Hotspots are those districts which are reporting more number of cases or where the rate of growth of COVID-19 cases is high,” Agarwal said, adding a detailed direction has been issued to states stating consolidated efforts are required to utilise this period of lockdown to curb the spread of the virus.
He had also said the movement of people will not be allowed in containment zones except for those related with essential services and special teams will search for new cases and samples will be collected and tested as per sampling criteria.